About Lino

Lino is an artist, humorist, and occasional responsible adult. He is the co-founder of a challenge-based LEGO car club called LUGNuts that boasts over 1100 members worldwide. He proposed automotive building challenges every month for ten years (120 challenges!) where he and the other members built accordingly. LUGNuts has retired their challenges on their 10th anniversary but still remain a cornerstone for LEGO automotive builders. Between his artistic work and LEGO builds, Lino has been published in several books, including Beautiful LEGO, Beautiful LEGO: Dark and Beautiful LEGO: Wild. He lives in Washington with his girlfriend and dog.

Posts by Lino

No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.

This fun LEGO creation by Fedde Barendrecht reminds me why I love James Bond movies. There’s always a certain formula to it involving an eccentric baddie with a sweet lair and a massive ego. Instead of just covertly shooting Mr.Bond any maybe ending the series twenty-some-odd movies ago, they possess a flair for theatrics. Usually, they strap the suave not-so-secret agent to some buzzsaw-crotch contraption while methodically telling him in full detail how he’s going to die. This gives 007 plenty of time to not only escape the predicament but also have a martini and a romp in the sack with some pretty lass or another. Total classic Bond stuff! If you like this, then check out how Fedde Barendrecht tickles our funny bones as well as makes us a bit concerned for his well-being on occasion. Also James Bond stuff!

No Mr Bond

A post-apocalyptic meat buffet

Some visions of the apocalypse involve dark, war-torn cities, some take place in barren deserts, while others speak of…some kind of Squid Game, somehow. This LEGO diorama by Insomnia Builds features a society of people who live in cabins on the ocean’s surface. At a quick distant glance, we see a collection of neat little cabins and even floating gardens. Aside from needing urgent roof repair, the denizens here seem quite content to live within their floating society. But with water comes scary tentacle monsters and that is precisely what they’re dealing with here. This piece bears the uncanny title of Meat Buffet and the apparently sleep-deprived builder serves up the caption of “I’m sure someone will eat meat today”. The thing is, we’re not sure if he means the people of this watery town or the tentacle monster. From the looks of things, it’ll probably be both!

Meat Buffet

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Paul puts the Funko in LEGO

If you’re ever in Everett, Washington be sure not to miss the Funko Headquarters Store. It’s like a museum of fun and pop culture. While I am not into Funko Pops per se, I still bring out-of-town friends there on occasion to see the sights and even I couldn’t resist buying a Godzilla boardgame and a Jiangshi hopping ghost figure. There’s likely something there for everyone. Paul Hetherington is a major Funko Funatic so he built the Funko Headquarters Store in LEGO. He has accurately portrayed the outside of the building with their retro Funko sign as well as their secondary sign stating that they are “purveyors of pop culture”.

Funko HQ Store Everett WA LEGO

Just like the actual building, the real feast for the senses lies within. Here Paul has accurately recreated the MARVEL room complete with Hulkbuster Ironman, the Hulk, and even the Green Goblin, Spider-Man, and Deadpool. It’s neat to see so many minifigues shopping for their favorite Pops. Paul has integrated several Funko Mystery Minis to emulate the large-scale POP characters both in and outside the building. But before you LEGO purists have a conniption fit about it, if you’re an adult fan of LEGO, chances are you might have a few other toys lying around too. So why not integrate them? There’s plenty of custom sticker work here to upset the purists as well. The last time we upset LEGO purists we received a record number of complaints from folks with AOL email addresses. Fun!

Funko HQ Store Marvel LEGO

Another amazing section of the store that is also a treat for the senses is the fabulously retro Pop Factory. Here you can create any Funko Pop you want. Why you could even Funko Pop-ify your own curmudgeonly mug complete with a 90’s-era-heavy-metal-guy goatee, steely gaze, and devil-may-care attitude. But I definitely didn’t think about doing that so don’t get that idea in your head!

Funko HQ Store Everett WA LEGO

The Funko Headquarters Store also has a Harry Potter room, Star Wars room…OK, I won’t spoil it all for you but definitely go there sometime to see for yourselves. But before you do, check out why Paul Hetherington is among our favorite LEGO artists.

Paint the world as you see fit

Being an artist has some perks. If you can imagine a world that doesn’t exist, simply invent it through art. As Bob Ross advised, just paint in those happy little trees! That is, in a sense, what First Order Lego has done here in LEGO. With a paint palette and brush in the composition, we see just a hint of color with a Mediterranean-style village at the base of a massive tree. It is just enough to clue us in that this builder is pretty good with color but the real star of the show here is what is not “painted”. Monochrome is notoriously difficult to draw or paint. It relies heavily on texture for great effect and that is what is done here in spades. Hundreds of mini wheels make up the leaves of the tree which creates breathtaking visual effects.

Painting The World - front overview

There are even more little houses going up the slope of the trunk that are just like the other ones except “unpainted”. He tells us it was all built-in under two weeks and had won the top prize at Bricking Bavaria, a LEGO convention in Germany. A well-deserved win, in my opinion. Here we see the artist “painting” his world with beautiful happy colors. The closeup makes it clear that the entire sculpture stands on Death Star halves. What brilliant details!

Painting The World - me painting detail

Send the Republic Frigate...and also the entire Republic fleet

The star of the show here is clearly Fuku Saku’s 1:250 microscale LEGO Charger c70 Republic Frigate. It has all the right shaping and as much detail as a model twice or three times its size. However, let’s not discount the awesomeness of his Jedi Starfighters, Republic Gunships, and the LAAT/c Assault Carrier. In fact, I’m personally more enthralled with the smaller models. The new UCS Republic Gunship set is huge, even impressive. I voted for it but LEGO may be disappointed to learn that I may not get the set as it…I don’t know…just doesn’t have any more detail or playability than prior smaller Gunship sets. These microscale models, however, have as much detail and accuracy as they need and at just a fraction of the size. I can see myself hanging out with Fuku for a day, building several copies of these Republic Gunships and LAAT/c’s to pad out his Republic fleet over a couple of beers. It’s the kind of thing that makes us adult builders rather excited. What do you think of these microscale models?

Republic Frigate (Charger c70 retrofit)

Fuku is no stranger to making little things seem pretty awesome. Check out what I mean in our archives: Fuku Saku LEGO.

The Unimog 406 is ready for action!

Winter is coming, and this time it has nothing to do with Game of Thrones but rather a regular winter in the northern hemisphere. Thankfully, Alexandre Rossier is up for the task with this massive LEGO ’67 Unimog 406. He tells us that the fully-detailed model is remote-controlled with a 4×4 with central differential, portal axles, and a 6-cylinder engine that you can admire by removing the cabin. I’m particularly smitten by its stance, color, beefy tires, snowplow…pretty much everything that makes it a Unimog.

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Take the train to Château Guillard from Overwatch

We’ve checked in with esteemed LEGO builder Matt De Lanoy and found he’s been quite busy this past year building the fictional Château Guillard castle from Overwatch. He tells us, “this castle was started in April 2019 and finished in November 2021. I would estimate the actual building/planning time to be about 6-8 months. There are approximately 70,000 pieces. The castle itself rests on a 50 x 50-inch footprint, the tracks bring the whole layout to 60 x 60 inches.”

Château Guillard

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A long, long time ago in Modesto, California a legend was born

I’ll admit a great deal of our bread and butter comes from LEGO Star Wars creations or sets. Or so they tell me. No one handed me any actual bread or butter but I hear it somehow greases the wheels of how this whole The Brothers Brick shindig works and it’s because y’all love Star Wars so much. It all started with George Lucas who inspired two or three generations while also creating Jar-Jar Binks and Watto. No one is perfect. This LEGO bust by Jannis Mavrostomos is pretty perfect, however. The resemblance to the legendary filmmaker is uncanny. The nose, ears, lips, glasses, even the checkered shirt and collar make use of some nifty parts and build techniques. A quick perusal through our archives proves Jannis is an up-and-coming builder we should be on the lookout for.

Is it wrong that I’m rooting for The Lizard?

It is my opinion that LEGO has a difficult time making Spider-Man sets exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I love Spider-Man. He has all of the weirdest and coolest villains ever. But their current Spider-Man lineup, even their massive Daily Bugle set didn’t stir much interest for me. However, if this creation by hachiroku92 were a set, I’d plunk down top dollar for it. I don’t know, there’s just something about it. I love the toxic sludge, the fact that it takes place in a sewer scores points with me and it is a nice cozy diorama that would look good on any shelf. But the star of the show would have to be this builder’s interpretation of The Lizard. Wow! Just…wow! I’m seeing a Jurassic Park Dino head, the lab coat is amazing and those claws are the stuff of nightmares.

Let’s move to this sunken temple. What can go wrong?

When I saw Andreas Lenander’s sunken temple of Mu’hit I immediately decided I wanted to live there. Sure, I can’t breathe underwater and frankly, I’m not the best swimmer so that might be a problem. But check out that view though. Look at those stingrays, those dolphins, the fish, and all that beautiful coral. It’s just breathtaking. Literally breathtaking as I’d drown within minutes. Still, that view though. As evidenced by the few LEGO skeletons scattered here and there things didn’t go entirely well for some of the prior tenants. Perhaps I should have thought that through before submitting my housing application.

The sunken temple of Mu'hit

If you’re as enthralled as I am, be sure to check out our archives for more of this builder’s stuff!

The way of the sword

The last time I hung out under a tree shirtless with a sword it led to a record number of cops showing up at the scene. But this LEGO minifigure pulls it off in style and that probably has everything to do with his sweet washboard abs. Unlike my drunken ordeal at the city park, SweStar has portrayed a sense of harmony and serenity here. I’m loving the tree trunk and even the root that extends beyond the orderly border. This is a bit tricky and not entirely recommended for the novice but this builder separated the minifigure legs from its waist in order to have the figure seated in a lotus position. Classy! Check out our archives to see the other times we’ve been totally enchanted by this builder’s stuff.

The Way of the Sword

This little star loves playing with planets

Look at that little star! They’re so adorable when they’re that age, aren’t they? Esteemed LEGO builder Koen Zwanburg tells us that this little star enjoys playing with planets. Don’t we all? Gosh they start off as a cute little gas cloud then before you know it they’re expanding into a Red Giant consuming the planets around it into a fiery hellish doom, then they implode in on themselves into a cold White Dwarf or whatever. But that’s like…a long time from now. We’ll have plenty of time to admire its cuteness before we are all vaporized into oblivion. In the meantime, check out why we’re so intrigued by this builder’s stuff.

Baby Star

This was built for a great cause called Build to Give. Click the little blue link to see what its all about and maybe build your own star to help out.